Shelby Co. authorities transfer former deputy to E. Texas jail

Photo courtesy of Mark McAvoy
Photo courtesy of Mark McAvoy
Mark McAvoy mug shot courtesy of Shelby County Jail.
Mark McAvoy mug shot courtesy of Shelby County Jail.

NEWTON, TX (KTRE) - The Shelby County Sheriff's Office has transported a former deputy charged with neglecting his two horses to East Texas. He is being held in a Newton County facility with a $100,000 bond.

Mark McAvoy is charged with animal abuse, a state jail felony, after one of his horses died before he moved to New Hampshire.

Shelby County Justice of the Peace Larry Jones said he set the bond at the high amount because he considers McAvoy a potential flight risk, because he resides out-of-state.

"The district judge can always lower it," Jones said. "He would just need to file a motion for a bond reduction and that judge can decide."

Shelby County Capt. Mike Tollett said the county hired a transport company to bring McAvoy back to the area about two weeks ago. He is staying in Newton County to avoid any conflict-of-interest with the Shelby County Jail.

Sheriff Newton Johnson fired McAvoy as deputy in March. He had been with the office since November.

McAvoy said in a telephone interview that one of his horses died when the neighbors' dogs got into the stable and killed his mare. Johnson suspects the animal was neglected.

McAvoy said he tried to sell the horses before he moved but was unsuccessful. He eventually agreed to give them away to someone who looked into moving into his house after he moved. The man decided not to take the house, but to take the horses.

"I heard a commotion two nights before I moved when I was sleeping and figured the dogs were in there but figured the stud would kick the crap out of them," McAvoy said. "The next morning, the mare was killed and I cried. I love my horses."

McAvoy said the man took the stud. McAvoy said he made arrangements with a neighbor to bury the mare before he moved.

"Newton Johnson came on the property and saw the dead horse and put the charge on me," he said.

In a telephone interview Wednesday from the Newton facility, McAvoy said he did not understand why his bond was so high. He said he no longer has legal representation and no court date has been set.

"I don't know what to do, so I just called you to see if I could get any help," he said.

Tollett said McAvoy does have an attorney, but did not know if it was one that was appointed to him or hired.

A call to the district attorney's office was not immediately returned.

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